The Food Bank Singapore sets up The Food Pantry 2.0 in migrant worker dormitory
UBS and UBS Optimus Foundation donate $650,000 to help expedite deployment of vending machines to care for foreign workers and low-income families
July 15, 2020 – The Food Bank Singapore (FBSG) today announces the establishment of The Food Pantry 2.0 in a dormitory for migrant workers in Punggol.
Housing about 60 migrant workers, the dormitory has three vending machines stocked with food items such as instant meals and hot beverages, as well as daily necessities such as soap, toothpaste and washing powder.
The Food Pantry 2.0 was launched last October 16 in conjunction with World Food Day, with the first location at Creamier’s Toa Payoh outlet.
Improving well-being and lives of migrant workers
“Since the launch of our first The Food Pantry 2.0, we have been looking to scale up the programme. The COVID-19 pandemic has glaringly highlighted the importance of having access to aid 24×7. Through the Community Foundation of Singapore, we were connected to UBS. Upon discussions with UBS, we felt that the machines would help improve the well-being and lives of migrant workers staying in dormitories,” said Nichol Ng, Co-founder of FBSG.
UBS and UBS Optimus Foundation have donated $650,000 to help expedite the roll out of The Food Pantry 2.0 in dormitories and low-income neighbourhoods across Singapore.
“COVID-19 outbreak has caused great inconveniences to various groups of people in the society, one such group includes migrant workers who have helped build and contribute to Singapore. UBS Community Affairs identified that this was a vulnerable group of people in society that required help and we reached out to them by supporting FBSG. FBSG had previously performed a needs evaluation and is providing no-contact vending machines which will dispense free necessities and groceries for our migrant workers to alleviate some of the burden that they face. As the situation progresses, we are hoping to resume physical volunteering activities and increase our impact on the community,” said August Hatecke, Country Head, UBS Singapore.
The vending machine concept of The Food Pantry 2.0 allows FBSG to provide food and other daily essentials that are redeemable round-the-clock. Migrant workers staying in the dormitory will be given a $50 Food Bank Card with which they can use to redeem items at just $2 each.
Caring should not end when COVID-19 ends FBSG intends to set up automated pantries in more dormitories once the migrant workers are more settled in their improved accommodation. It plans to procure up to 25 vending machines with support from equipment partner KALMS.
Machines deployed in dormitories will be assessed periodically and if they are no longer needed, will be redeployed elsewhere, such as in another dormitory or in a neighbourhood with low-income families in Singapore.
“We have received a lot of interest in The Food Pantry 2.0 as FBSG strides toward digitalisation. This is in line with the streamlining of efforts to increase our direct distribution network to support the NGOs that we work with. The caring should not end when COVID-19 ends,” said Ng.